The cholesterol myth

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The cholesterol myth

Postby Alex123 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:49 am

You have probably heard that "cholesterol is bad".

But did you know that:

-cholesterol is so important that your liver produces it.

-One has to take drugs to lower it because otherwise your liver would produce it.

-There is NO evidence that high cholesterol causes atherosclerosis or heart attacks. In fact high cholesterol may protect against atherosclerosis

-Statin drugs that lower cholesterol cause memory loss and lessen brain function

-"Even though the brain only makes up 2% of the body's weight, it contains 25% of its cholesterol" link

Memories and Learning are Directly Dependent on Cholesterol

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, research was pointing to an unknown compound made by glial cells that was responsible for the ability of neurons to form synapses, or connections between each other.

Thoughts, memories, learning, and all mental function is dependent on the formation of synapses, so the ability to form them will directly impact mental functioning and health.

In the absence of this-- as yet unknown-- "glial factor," neurons formed few synapses, and the synapses they formed were inefficient and poorly functioning. In the presence of glial cells, which secrete the unknown factor, neurons formed many, highly efficient synapses.

So what is this "glial factor"?

Research in 2001, by Mauch, et al., published in volume 294 of Science magazine, determined that the unknown glial factor is cholesterol, which is released by the glial cells in a carrier called "apolipoprotein E."5

Initially, the researchers thought that the apolipoprotein E (apoE) may have been the glial factor itself. But it turned out that when neurons were treated with apoE, the beneficial effects on synapse formation were not observed.

The researchers then reasoned that, since apoE fit the bill in some ways, but did not have the desired effect, some of the lipids it carried may have been the elusive glial factor.

As it turned out, treating the neurons with a 10 mcg/mL solution of cholesterol increased synapse formation by 12 times! Other lipids, carried by apoE, such as phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin, did not have a significant effect, and were even toxic to the neurons at very high doses.

On the other hand, when low-cholesterol glial secretions were produced by using the cholesterol-lowering drug, mevastatin, the effect of the glial secretion on synapse formation was strongly diminished. When cholesterol was added back to the low-cholesterol secretion, the positive effect on synapse formation was fully restored.

The authors identified cholesterol as a limiting factor of synpase formation. In other words, the need for cholesterol in the brain is large enough relative to the supply of cholesterol that the availability of cholesterol can directly limit the ability to form synapses.
http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com/M ... terol.html



It is an essential structural component of mammalian cell membranes and is required to establish proper membrane permeability and fluidity.

In addition to its importance within cells, cholesterol also serves as a precursor for the biosynthesis of steroid hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D.[2] Cholesterol is the principal sterol synthesized by animals; in vertebrates it is formed predominantly in the liver. Small quantities are synthesized in other cellular organisms (eukaryotes) such as plants and fungi. It is almost completely absent among prokaryotes (i.e., bacteria).
...
Within cells, cholesterol is the precursor molecule in several biochemical pathways. In the liver, cholesterol is converted to bile, which is then stored in the gallbladder. Bile contains bile salts, which solubilize fats in the digestive tract and aid in the intestinal absorption of fat molecules as well as the fat-soluble vitamins, A, D, E, and K. Cholesterol is an important precursor molecule for the synthesis of vitamin D and the steroid hormones, including the adrenal gland hormones cortisol and aldosterone, as well as the sex hormones progesterone, estrogens, and testosterone, and their derivatives.[2]

Some research indicates cholesterol may act as an antioxidant
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cholesterol

(NaturalNews) Including high-cholesterol foods as part of a healthy diet may not be the poor dietary choice we have all been told it is, suggests a new study published in the journal Nature Medicine. It turns out that cholesterol actually helps increase production of an important component of the nervous system that facilitates proper nerve cell communication, and prevents the onset of brain diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease
http://www.naturalnews.com/036258_chole ... imers.html



Here are the facts!

1 Cholesterol is not a deadly poison, but a substance vital to the cells of all mammals. There are no such things as good or bad cholesterol, but mental stress, physical activity and change of body weight may influence the level of blood cholesterol. A high cholesterol is not dangerous by itself, but may reflect an unhealthy condition, or it may be totally innocent.

2 A high blood cholesterol is said to promote atherosclerosis and thus also coronary heart disease. But many studies have shown that people whose blood cholesterol is low become just as atherosclerotic as people whose cholesterol is high.

3 Your body produces three to four times more cholesterol than you eat. The production of cholesterol increases when you eat little cholesterol and decreases when you eat much. This explains why the ”prudent” diet cannot lower cholesterol more than on average a few per cent.

4 There is no evidence that too much animal fat and cholesterol in the diet promotes atherosclerosis or heart attacks. For instance, more than twenty studies have shown that people who have had a heart attack haven't eaten more fat of any kind than other people, and degree of atherosclerosis at autopsy is unrelated with the diet.

5 The only effective way to lower cholesterol is with drugs, but neither heart mortality or total mortality have been improved with drugs the effect of which is cholesterol-lowering only. On the contrary, these drugs are dangerous to your health and may shorten your life.

6 The new cholesterol-lowering drugs, the statins, do prevent cardio-vascular disease, but this is due to other mechanisms than cholesterol-lowering. Unfortunately, they also stimulate cancer in rodents, disturb the functions of the muscles, the heart and the brain and pregnant women taking statins may give birth to children with malformations more severe than those seen after thalidomide.

7 Many of these facts have been presented in scientific journals and books for decades but are rarely told to the public by the proponents of the diet-heart idea.

8 The reason why laymen, doctors and most scientists have been misled is because opposing and disagreeing results are systematically ignored or misquoted in the scientific press.

9 The Benefits Of High Cholesterol
http://www.ravnskov.nu/cholesterol.htm
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby pilgrim » Wed Oct 24, 2012 6:37 am

So what causes atherosclerosis or heart attacks?

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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby Alex123 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:41 pm

pilgrim wrote:So what causes atherosclerosis or heart attacks?


Not cholesterol which is essential for health. If there is something wrong with arteries, then they or some other disease are at fault. Not cholesterol which is so important that it is produced by the liver and 25% of cholesterol is found in the brain. I would consider it insulting if someone would tell me that "you got low cholesterol".

    "One of the most surprising facts about cholesterol is that there is no relationship between the blood cholesterol level and the degree of atherosclerosis in the vessels. If a high cholesterol really did promote atherosclerosis, then people with a high cholesterol should evidently be more atherosclerotic than people with a low. But it isn't so." link
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:37 pm

Alex123 wrote:Not cholesterol which is essential for health. If there is something wrong with arteries, then they or some other disease are at fault. Not cholesterol which is so important that it is produced by the liver and 25% of cholesterol is found in the brain. I would consider it insulting if someone would tell me that "you got low cholesterol".

The problem is that the cholesterol which is produced by your body is mainly high-density lipoprotein, whereas most processed, cooked, or otherwise ingested cholesterol is low-density lipoprotein, which is prone to oxidation by free radicals. HDL cholesterol is indeed important for the body; in fact, specifically it is important largely because of its role in preventing the buildup of LDLC.

Also, unless your doctor is doing something very wrong, your cholesterol levels are not going to be measured by sampling your brain. They're going to be measured by sampling your blood, which is filled with a general baseline of HDLC that rarely goes up or down (as it is produced, like you said, naturally by the liver) as well as an additional level of LDLC which comes from diet, or in some cases disease of the liver. The problem with high cholesterol is that it can only reach the levels considered "dangerous" by medical professionals if there is a substantial amount of LDLC at risk for oxidation. I myself have literally no cholesterol intake as I consume no animal products, and my cholesterol is still fine because I have healthy levels of HDLC produced naturally by my body.

I certainly haven't had any problems with brain function...at least I think. :?
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby Alex123 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:48 pm

As for LDL cholesterol: IT IS GOOD.

The LDL submarines mainly transport cholesterol in the opposite direction. They carry it from the liver, where most of our body's cholesterol is produced, to the peripheral tissues, including the vascular walls. When cells need cholesterol, they call for the LDL submarines, which then deliver cholesterol into the interior of the cells. Most of the cholesterol in the blood, between 60 and 80 per cent, is transported by LDL and is called ”bad” cholesterol, for reasons that I shall explain soon. Only 15-20 percent is transported by HDL and called ”good” cholesterol.

You may ask why a natural substance in our blood, with important biologic functions, is called ”bad” when it is transported from the liver to the peripheral tissues by LDL, but ”good” when it is transported the other way by HDL.
http://www.ravnskov.nu/myth1.htm


What I am considering right now is to add more cholesterol containing food in my diet in few month or so. I've read a lot of good things about cholesterol.
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby tinhtan » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:08 pm

Alex123 wrote:As for LDL cholesterol: IT IS GOOD.
...
What I am considering right now is to add more cholesterol containing food in my diet in few month or so. I've read a lot of good things about cholesterol.


Hi Alex ,
I think you know that :
- a little poison might be a medicine
- but too much medicine would became a poison !

All is about the balance, the correct level acceptable for the body. There's no really good or bad cholesterol but only the correct level that contributes to a healthy body.

So, too much LDL cholestorol may block inside your arteries.
Too low LDL cholestoreol may cause your artery rigid.

The problem is to define the level of LDLC/HDLC in the blood to be considered a healthy situation for a person with a certain weight .

I think that it's better for you to search for the reason why your body can not adjust the right percentage of the Cholesterol(LDL/HDL) in the blood.

Another type of fat present in the blood is triglycerides that also play a certain function. High levels of triglycerides may increase your risk for metabolic syndrome( diabetes, heart disease, ...). In general high cholesterol leads to high triglycerides.

I hope you to find and follow a balance regime.
Best wishes.
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby Ben » Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:17 pm

pilgrim wrote:So what causes atherosclerosis or heart attacks?


Gremlins, obviously!
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:16 pm

Apparently the main cholesterol-based chemical which is beneficial for brain, liver and kidney function is choline, which occurs naturally in eggs and fatty meats. It is classified as an essential nutrient, and studies have shown most people do not get anywhere near enough oi it. Choline must be consumed through the diet in order for the body to remain healthy. It is used in the synthesis of the constructional components in the body's cell membranes. Despite the perceived benefits of choline, dietary recommendations have discouraged people from eating certain high choline foods, such as egg and fatty meats.

From the wiki:

Groups at risk for choline deficiency

Vegetarians, vegans, endurance athletes, and people who drink a lot of alcohol may be at risk for choline deficiency and may benefit from choline supplements.[citation needed] In general, people who do not eat many whole eggs may have to pay close attention to get enough choline in their diets.[12] Studies on a number of different populations have found that the average intake of choline was below the adequate intake (AI).[2][13]

The choline researcher Dr. Steven Zeisel wrote: "A recent analysis of data from NHANES 2003–2004 revealed that for [American] older children, men, women and pregnant women, mean choline intakes are far below the AI. Ten percent or fewer had usual choline intakes at or above the AI."[2]


Choline has been shown in numerous clinical trials to aid in cognition and memory improvement. Also memory loss, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer, and other disorders.

Since I'm a vegetarian, I take citicoline, a choline supplement along with my other supplements. I'm an ovo-lacto veggie (which makes me a monster in the eyes of the more militant vegans, but oh well) so I get the occasional egg, but I don't eat enough to get the daily recommended requirement. An adult male would have to eat five eggs a day to meet the recommended daily requirement of choline!

Hope all this helps,

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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby Alex123 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:01 pm

tinhtan wrote:Hi Alex ,
I think you know that :
- a little poison might be a medicine
- but too much medicine would became a poison !


Of course. Without water we will die. But if one jumps in a swimming pool and drowns......

But cholesterol is NOT the demon that it is made out to be.
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby David N. Snyder » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:09 pm

Alex123 wrote:But cholesterol is NOT the demon that it is made out to be.


LDL is bad. HDL is good, which is why there are perhaps some conflicting studies. Cholesterol, i.e., good cholesterol is not bad in high numbers actually combats the bad cholesterol. The LDL in high numbers can be very bad for you. Good foods and exercise can raise the good cholesterol.
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby Alex123 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:43 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:
Alex123 wrote:But cholesterol is NOT the demon that it is made out to be.


LDL is bad. HDL is good, which is why there are perhaps some conflicting studies. Cholesterol, i.e., good cholesterol is not bad in high numbers actually combats the bad cholesterol. The LDL in high numbers can be very bad for you. Good foods and exercise can raise the good cholesterol.


The only "bad" cholesterol is if, if it gets too high (which is questionable) like the water example that I've gave. Without water we will die. But if one jumps in a swimming pool and drowns from too much water......

Check my earlier post.
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby danieLion » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:26 am

Alex123 wrote:What I am considering right now is to add more cholesterol containing food in my diet in few month or so. I've read a lot of good things about cholesterol.


This is what I learned from my nutrition science professor: You just poop out any cholesterol you eat in foods. You make all your own cholesterol. Your body uses the protein and fat you eat to manufacture its own cholesterol.

So the real myth about cholesterol is that eating it effects your cholesterol levels. It's doesn't.

Without cholesterol (both kinds) you'd die. Blood levels are an imprecise yet pragmatic indicator of risk probabilities, not evidence pro or con for the validity of the metric.
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby Mr Man » Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:38 am

So this is nonsense? http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/cond ... terol.aspx

It seems that for every medical condition (and medication) we can find differing viewpoints. Our research normally takes us to views which match our own ideas/hopes/opinions.
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:49 am

Peanut butter is bad for you, studies say.
Peanut butter is great for you, studies say.
Eggs are bad for you, studies say.
No, eggs are GOOD for you, studies say.
Soy gives you moobs, according to UK scientists.
No it doesn't, University of Sydney says.


In my lifetime I've heard so many conflicting dietary "studies" I've come to think the nutritional field is more voodoo than science.

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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby Alex123 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:04 pm

Mr Man wrote:So this is nonsense? http://www.bhf.org.uk/heart-health/cond ... terol.aspx

It seems that for every medical condition (and medication) we can find differing viewpoints. Our research normally takes us to views which match our own ideas/hopes/opinions.


Not every study is of equal validity. Not every conclusion is correct one. Correlation does NOT mean causation. When there is hurricane, trees bend. But trees bending does not cause the wind. Wind causes them. If there is some problem in the body (ex: leading to heart problems) and more cholesterol is produced, it doesn't mean that it is cholesterol, a naturally occurring substance produced by the liver, that is to blame.

That link recommends statins (rather than exercise, good diet, multivitamins, etc from which big Pharma cannot make money).

BubbaBuddhist wrote:In my lifetime I've heard so many conflicting dietary "studies" I've come to think the nutritional field is more voodoo than science.


That is very wise. The possible answer is that we have to do our own research because when big financial interests are involved, some studies can be biased toward certain expensive drugs such as statins.
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby David N. Snyder » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:08 pm



No, it is not nonsense. The science has examined this for several decades and has concluded successfully that high cholesterol amounts (LDL) result in higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

It seems that for every medical condition (and medication) we can find differing viewpoints. Our research normally takes us to views which match our own ideas/hopes/opinions.


This is true. That is why it best to look at all the studies and make our own conclusions. Another way of examining a controversial issue with differing studies is to look at the weight, quantity, and quality of the studies. Sometimes just adding up the amount of studies on one side and comparing it to the amount of studies concluding the opposite. And then it is also important to look at the quality of the studies and how rigorous they are to scientific method.

My father would say, "consider the source." When we look at one of the links provided by Alex123 we see: http://www.ravnskov.nu/myth1.htm where you can see the amateurish nature of that site. And also how he quotes himself as a reference several times. Also the dot nu domain name. This domain name is for the island nation of Niuē, population of 1,398. It is not even a dot com website. :D

When you consider the quality and quantity of studies, in my assessment, it is clearly on the side that high LDL cholesterol is bad for you. I would not recommend anyone to go out and eat some bacon cheeseburgers to be "healthy." And no, I am not picking on meat eating omnivores. A vegetarian can have high cholesterol too, if they eat too much dairy and eggs and/or fried foods. And there are vegetarians with heart troubles too, for those that eat high fat diets.
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby Alex123 » Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:15 pm

David N. Snyder wrote:This is true. That is why it best to look at all the studies and make our own conclusions.


This is correct. Some large business people create a scare and then sell us expensive drugs that also put us at risk of severe side effects.

I can find much better links if you want.

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/artic ... sease.aspx


If Your Cholesterol is Too Low...

All kinds of nasty things can happen to your body. Remember, every single one of your cells needs cholesterol to thrive -- including those in your brain. Perhaps this is why low cholesterol wreaks havoc on your psyche.

One large study conducted by Dutch researchers found that men with chronically low cholesterol levels showed a consistently higher risk of having depressive symptoms.4

This may be because cholesterol affects the metabolism of serotonin, a substance involved in the regulation of your mood. On a similar note, Canadian researchers found that those in the lowest quarter of total cholesterol concentration had more than six times the risk of committing suicide as did those in the highest quarter.5

Dozens of studies also support a connection between low or lowered cholesterol levels and violent behavior, through this same pathway: lowered cholesterol levels may lead to lowered brain serotonin activity, which may, in turn, lead to increased violence and aggression.6

And one meta-analysis of over 41,000 patient records found that people who take statin drugs to lower their cholesterol as much as possible may have a higher risk of cancer,7 while other studies have linked low cholesterol to Parkinson's disease.

What cholesterol level is too low? Brace yourself.

Probably any level much under 150 -- an optimum would be more like 200.

Now I know what you are thinking: "But my doctor tells me my cholesterol needs to be under 200 to be healthy."Well let me enlighten you about how these cholesterol recommendations came to be. And I warn you, it is not a pretty story.

This is a significant issue. I have seen large numbers of people who have their cholesterol lowered below 150, and there is little question in my mind that it is causing far more harm than any benefit they are receiving by lowering their cholesterol this low.
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:29 pm

The magic word is CHOLINE. :P this is the nutrient found in cholesterol that promotes serotonin production/reuptake and neuron efficiency in the brain, kidney function, cell membrane vitality and liver health. So if you want the best of both worlds take a choline supplement and keep your cholesterol down. At least until the next battery of reports come out and assure us all that giant squid is the healthiest food in the universe. What was it last year--krill? My aquatic frogs used to love krill, no wonder they were so fat and sassy. :juggling:

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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby Mr Man » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:30 pm

Alex123 wrote:



That link recommends statins (rather than exercise, good diet, multivitamins, etc from which big Pharma cannot make money).




Are you sure you read it?
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Re: The cholesterol myth

Postby danieLion » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:51 pm

Consuming cholesterol does NOTHING to cholesterol levels.

YOUR BODY MAKES ALL ITS OWN CHOLESTEROL and DOES NOT USE ANY CHOLESTEROL YOU EAT. Talking about what consuming cholesterol does to your cholesterol levels is nonsense.
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